ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Nov
07

From Soviet to Post-Soviet Consumerism

In a sense, life was relatively simple back in the Soviet Union days. Consumers had few choices, and material aspirations were limited to the unholy trinity of “apartment, car and dacha”. That said, homo Sovieticus spent enormous amounts of time and energy in chasing material goods ranging from potatoes to nylon stockings and cars. A part of Soviet consumer behavior was about satisfying basic needs (as in the potatoes example above). But there was a discernible element of conspicuous consumption as well. Possession of a luxurious Pobeda car was deemed an...
Rate this blog entry:
Recent comment in this post
Guest — Levan Pavlenishvili
In my undergraduate years one of my lecturers was ex prime-minister of Georgian SSR, Mr. Nodar Chitanava who appears to be a neigh... Read More
Thursday, 13 November 2014 10:10 AM
Continue reading
3745
1 Comment
Write a Comment
Oct
03

Pride and Prejudice in Georgian Food Consumption

GEORGIAN “SUPRAS” AND POVERTY Hospitality is one of the most prized aspects of the Georgian culture. Welcoming (literal translation: "respecting") guests is a matter of great pride for any family. My mother grew up in a small Imeretian village, and as she tells me, the kids of the family were not allowed to eat until the guests were fully "respected", i.e. properly fed. Even the poorest household in the village would go out of its way (and income) to impress its guests with a cornucopia of local delicacies, meats, veggies, and homemade wine. To this day,...
Rate this blog entry:
Recent Comments
Guest — Zurab Garakanidze
'...every third household reports difficulties in access to food (in contrast with every 5th urban household)' ----------- It is n... Read More
Monday, 06 October 2014 5:05 AM
Guest — Nino Doghonadze
Dear Zurab, of course, your point is legitimate for any extensive research on this topic. In this short article the main issue was... Read More
Saturday, 11 October 2014 2:02 PM
Continue reading
2815
2 Comments
Write a Comment
Sep
30

The Ice Bucket Challenge: Does Motivation Matter?

In summer, social media were flooded with videos showing your friends (and celebrities of all levels of prominence) pouring buckets of icy water over their heads. While some people enjoyed watching this (and even participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge), many were unnerved by this charity campaign which was hardly distinguishable from an ordinary spam attack, were it not for the fact that now your friends and acquaintances were spamming you. A third group however, showed the most interesting reaction: they became moral about it. For those who do not kno...
Rate this blog entry:
Recent Comments
Guest — Eric Livny
This discussion is quite relevant to a very wide range of phenomena. For instance, what immediately springs to mind is the concept... Read More
Tuesday, 30 September 2014 11:11 AM
Guest — Gregory Levonian
Florian and Saba are right, but for the wrong reasons. To condemn selfish motivations for doing good deeds is flawed. One could ar... Read More
Tuesday, 30 September 2014 3:03 PM
Guest — Zurab Garakanidze
how can I submit a blog?
Tuesday, 30 September 2014 4:04 PM
Continue reading
2787
10 Comments
Write a Comment
Jul
14

Common Language, Education, and Nation Building

(Translation by Elene Grdzelidze) Back in the middle of the 19th century, Georgia was much more fragmented and unequal than today. It was a society consisting of a huge mass of illiterate peasants (mostly serfs working the lands of their lords and the church), a sliver of urban population (large parts of which, particularly in Tbilisi, were not ethnically Georgian), and a relatively large proportion (up to 5%) of nobility, organized according to a rigid hierarchical system and controlling much of the country’s land. The beginning of Georgia’s national re...
Rate this blog entry:
Recent Comments
Guest — Eric Livny
I very much agree, Florian. I would also add another aspect. In another country we both know very well (Israel), there is another ... Read More
Monday, 14 July 2014 4:04 PM
Guest — Florian Biermann
Elites can be parasitic or constructive, and while in a feudal society they tend to be on the parasitic side, it was a great custo... Read More
Monday, 14 July 2014 3:03 PM
Guest — Eric Livny
Thanks, Randy! It is indeed interesting how Sweden resolved the tension between private and public schooling:From Wikipedia:"Prior... Read More
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 6:06 AM
Continue reading
2614
5 Comments
Write a Comment
Jul
11

The Multigenerational Country

What is a family? Posing this question to a child in, say, Sweden, would almost surely lead to the answer “mum, dad, and children”. What would be the answer in Georgia? In Georgia, a child would most likely answer “grandmother, grandfather, mum, dad, and children”.  The multigenerational family, nowadays almost unknown in the economically more developed parts of the world, is still very common in Georgia. 2013 data of UNICEF derived from a sample of roughly 3000 Georgian households reveal the extent of this phenomenon. According to these data, in ab...
Tags:
Rate this blog entry:
Recent comment in this post
Guest — Eric Livny
In 1990-1 Israel was expecting a huge wave of immigration from the USSR. Ariel Sharon, minister of housing and construction at the... Read More
Monday, 14 July 2014 8:08 AM
Continue reading
2765
1 Comment
Write a Comment
Jun
30

Georgian Nepotism

In Georgia, employment is often found not through prevailing in fair, orderly selection processes, but through personal connections. This is a well-known fact almost nobody denies. It is evident in almost every Georgian firm and institution. In a hospital you encounter a “nurse” not capable of the most basic medical accomplishments, in one of Tbilisi’s universities you meet a “cleaning woman” who is mentally ill, known for scaring everybody through aggressive and inappropriate behavior, and in the railway station you buy a ticket from a clerk who knows n...
Rate this blog entry:
Recent Comments
Guest — Eteri
Nepotism – one of the forms of corruption – is a use of public office for a private gain that is distributing favors to family mem... Read More
Monday, 30 June 2014 11:11 AM
Guest — Helene Ryding
It seems to me several issues are rolled into "nepotism" as described here, and they need to be unpacked. First of all, everyone ... Read More
Monday, 30 June 2014 5:05 PM
Guest — Eric Livny
Roba’s general observation is spot on!!! Coffee makers and coffee drinkers of Georgia unite!!! I am truly puzzled by nepotism as a... Read More
Monday, 30 June 2014 6:06 PM
Continue reading
2884
6 Comments
Write a Comment

Our Partners